And the Second Horseman of the Flashpocalypse is... Microsoft

by Thomas Brady


You know what? I’m just not going to comment on the “Us too” angle of Microsoft making a “we’re all about HTML5” announcement the day after Apple did the same. At least not any more than I just did.

At this point, I feel this has to be said.

FLASH, FLEX, AND ALL MANNER OF ACTIONSCRIPT DEVELOPER BRETHREN, GIVE ME YOUR EAR. It is time to start learning a new skill-set, unless you plan on sinking your hooks into some slow-moving beast of a company that can afford to prop up legacy software for years to come.

I have loved Flash. I have been a Flash developer (in professional or amateur capactiy) for 10 years now. I can’t thank Adobe enough. But it’s over. Sure, we’re going to have a few years of near-miss “are we going to start dating again?” moments - bumping into each other at the gym, getting invited to the same party by mutual friends who don’t know we’ve broken up, being seated near each other at our favorite restaurant, and having great conversations each time. But it’s over. You don’t need to take all of your stuff home, yet, but you do need to get your toothbrush and anything in my closet.

Flash was useful because web browsers were broken. Yes, that’s right, Flash, you were a rebound that helped us get over the fact that it didn’t work out with IE 5, or 6, or Netscape Navigator, or whomever we really gave it a go with, back in the day. But WebKit rolled into town, and she’s friends with every platform out there, even mobile. Fire Fox has really found herself, it looks like, and even old IE looks like she’s been splitting her time between night school and the gym. We’re ready to try again. You were there for us, and we appreciate that, but we all knew this was temporary, right?

Now let’s get back to the metaphor implied by the title, now, shall we?

When Apple and Microsoft agree on something, it’s a pretty loud, powerful message. The end is near for Flash if for no other reason than the fact that everyone listens to those two companies when they start making big statements. Everyone including managers from bottom to top across the industry who may not even know what HTML5 means. What they do know is that they’re going to sound silly now if they have to report to someone that they have a new project that’s using Flash, and that they’ll sound smart and foreward-thinking if they have a new project that’s HTML5.

Is that how these decisions should be made? No, I don’t think so. But it’s how it happens a lot of the time, and it’s probably what we’re looking at right now.